Florida mom urges people to 'stay home’ to protect her sons from coronavirus

COVID-19 threatens vulnerable groups with respiratory illness

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – While seniors have been warned about the increased risks associated with the coronavirus, a Central Florida mom is asking the community to stay at home to protect her children.

Paige McMillen has her arms full, with newborn son Ezra and 3-year-old Tristan spending lots of time at home while people are being encouraged to practice social distancing.

"Parents of medically fragile children or medically complex children, they often take these precautionary measures that we're seeing year-round," McMillen said.

Her son Tristan has Down syndrome and a reactive airway disease that puts him at higher risk for severe illness if he were to get COVID-19.

"Unfortunately we're not healthy all the time he's immuno-compromised so we do have to deal with that and live our life a little bit differently," McMillen said.

McMillen said if her toddler were to get sick, he may contract pneumonia or something more serious that would cause his airways to completely close.

"You need air to breathe, so that's super scary," McMillen said.

While many of the warnings surrounding the novel coronavirus have focused on seniors being the most vulnerable, the National Institutes of Health and Center for Disease Control warn anyone with chronic medical conditions, including respiratory difficulties, have an increased risk as communities across the country continue to see more cases.

McMillen said the threat is amplified for many members of the Down syndrome community in Central Florida with children who require extra medical care.

“It’s more than just stay home because it’s an inconvenience, because it may or may not be bad for you, stay home because somebody may or may not be getting life-saving surgery,” McMillen said.

McMillen said she understands the inconvenience many families are feeling. She hopes people stay home to protect medically fragile children and adults in our community.

“During these big outbreaks my biggest fear is not being able to take care of my babies and protect them, because so much isn’t on me,” McMillen said.

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